Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Stir Crazy

In Flames / Between The Buried And Me / 3 Inches Of Blood
The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco
September 21, 2009

A week ago Umlaut was struck down by an intense flu that had my insides boiling with a 101-102 degree fever for most of a night. After hours of fearing the worst, thankfully the fever broke by morning, so I did NOT have Swine Flu. Ironically, I was stricken during the longest lull between gigs that I've experienced all year. However, probably due to my sick time, after going gigless for 10 days I was starting to go stir crazy with that itchy feeling that I needed to see a Metal show... and any Metal show would do... So at the last minute I was able to make my way to The Regency for this bill although I can't say I was a fan of any of the bands going in... but it was cool to enter the venue and see it nicely packed on a Monday night. I was immediately glad that I left the house.

I completely missed the first band (sorry to The Faceless... not really impressed by your name though... just being honest..) but I've been wanting to see 3 Inches Of Blood (3IOB) for awhile but always missed them in the past. Oh man, I had an epic sense of deja vu during their set! These Canadians are like practically every band I followed in the early-80's down to their greasy long hair and denim vests... AND they have their very own doppelganger of James Hetfield circa 1985 on guitar / backing vox:

The guy's retro Hetfield look was tripping me out... From his stage clothes.. to his White V.. to how his hair was teased... to how he'd throw his head back and sing... all just like Hetfield in his youth.. The only thing missing was a singing voice.. but I digress. Despite the doppelganger, I liked 3IOB quite a bit and their retro Metal songs came across better live than on album... especially new tracks like 'Call Of The Hammer' and ' Battles And Brotherhood'. Musically the band are straight outta 1984-85 which isn't a bad thing at all in this day and age. Ironically, I've had the same conversation with various people (friends and record label peeps) recently about how *my* Metal (early-80's era) has been "discovered" by young bands and fans and it's translating into what alot of new bands are doing now. I find this really fascinating and may have to explore that subject in this space in the near future..

Anyway, back to the evening: Between The Buried And Me (BTBAM) have one of those long names that immediately makes me not take them seriously.. 5 words!? Ridiculous. I knew within 30 seconds of the band taking the stage that I wouldn't like them: The bassist held his bass high up in that Jazz musician way which is simply NOT METAL. Note to The Kidz: If you play bass and guitar in a METAL band you should wear your weapons slung LOW like a gunslinger. Otherwise you look like you're dry humping your instrument onstage... which is fine if you're in a Jazz band... but dry humping is NOT Metal. Also, the way the normal looking singer bounced around from the front of the stage to his KEYBOARDS made me want to swing a battle axe at his head. BTBAM made me realize I do not *get* The Kidz these days sometimes. They were AWFUL.. but The Kidz luv 'em. Hope I die before I get old.

After watching a couple of BTBAM's godawful songs and getting annoyed by how The Kidz were going off for them, Photo Ray and I retired to the empty lobby for a beer and conversation... where we also were able to say "Hey, man... Good set.." to 3IOB's bassist and guitarist.. However, we skillfully avoided the rookie mistake of attempting to take the conversation past the kudos stage. Note to The Kidz: When you randomly encounter a band at a show simply compliment them in a cool dude way... but attempt a real conversation at your own risk. However, if you're a chick... go for it.

I'm not a fan of In Flames, but The Kidz sure like them... This was around my 3rd time seeing the Swedes and I've only ever seen them because they've been on the bill with a band I want to see.. According to the Umlaut Archives the last time I was in the same room as In Flames was last November when they had their asses handed to them by Gojira at The Warfield.. Anyway, I can appreciate where they're coming from with their clean harmonized guitars that sometimes recall Thin Lizzy... but it doesn't work for me... but The Kidz sure luv 'em!

This was the type of B-Level Metal show where I knew I would not run into many, if any, Umlaut Nation members... but a shout out to Photo Ray, Nikki Blakk, and Photo Alan who were there doing their thing and keeping it real.

If you bought one of every 3 Inches Of Blood merch item you would have paid around $60. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. The Prius was docked back at Casa de Umlaut by 11:00PM and I was able to consume a late night sandwich before The Witching Hour. All in all an extremely routine night... but it was nice to get out.